Santa Rosa Marathon Recap

The big day finally came! It was an experience I will truly cherish and never forget. Here’s how it went down.

Because Jonah was starting kindergarten on Monday (day after race), I asked my parents to take Lucy for the week so that Jonah and I could spend some time together before he got whisked off the school/college/career/marriage. We had a fun time together – mostly just hanging out at home and playing with legos.

Thursday was a big day for him, Jaguar Day…where he was to learn his teacher and schedule for the year. Long story short, he got a great class but suffered through Jag Day pale, weak and complaining of a yucky tummy. As we approached our house, he threw up for the first time. Throughout the night and next day, he threw up a lot more. Poor kid was sick sick sick. By Saturday he was feeling better and wanted to go to my mom’s to be with Lucy and have a fun cousin weekend.

Here’s what my Friday night looked like:

Because I've so often forgotten something crucial, I laid out all my stuff methodically and took a photo so I could reassure myself that I didn't forget anything (or confirm that I did...if I did!)
Because I’ve so often forgotten something crucial when traveling, I laid out all my stuff methodically and took a photo so I could reassure myself that I didn’t forget anything (or confirm that I did…if I did!)

Saturday morning started out with a 2-mile shake out run. I ran up to the guard gate entrance to Mt. Diablo just after sunrise. It was really beautiful.

The view from my last training run!
The view from my last training run!

By noon, we met my mom in Vacaville to drop off Jonah to spend the night with her (in Sac). From there, we headed toward Sonoma County. We had some wine to pick up at Dutcher Crossing winery so we decided to stop for lunch at the Dry Creek General Store. It’s a schlep to get up there but Dry Creek wines are amazing and Dutcher Crossing is both beautiful and chocked full of delicious wines.


Geniuses! (No parking!)

After lunch and our wine pick-up(s), we headed to the race expo at DeLoach winery. They did an awesome job with the expo.


They even gave each runner a bottle of wine!
They even gave each runner a bottle of wine!

For the first time in as long as I could remember, I actually wore make up that day…so I took this pic to remind myself what a bad ass I am (not that you can even see the carefully applied cosmetics).

Grrrrr,Er, big dork.

I snapped this shot after our dinner in downtown Santa Rosa. Charles Schulz is from SR and apparently did most of his Peanuts comics from his home there so they honor him with character statues around town. It’s really cute! I took this one for my Lucy girl.

Bronze Lucy
Bronze Lucy

IMG_9452I posted that pic on FB at about 5:30am. I described it as, “post quake and pre race…feeling shaky.” Yes, we felt the magnitude 6.0 earthquake epicentered about 30 +/- miles from Santa Rosa. With the 6am gun time, our alarm was set for 4:45am. Waking to the largest SF Bay Area earthquake in 25 years an hour and a half before our alarm was both frightening and shitty. In case you’ve seen Robin Williams talking about earthquakes and allow yourself to think that all Californians are blasé and cool about them…we’re not. It was absolutely terrifying to shake for 20 seconds. I looked at the hotel pool for a second out the door afterwards. It looked like the ocean!

But the race was still on!


My BQ time was 3:45 so I snapped this guy’s pic. I did not see him again.

IMG_9455One last selfie before the gun went off. I was calm but didn’t feel really ready.

The first few miles were full of self doubt. I kept thinking thoughts like, “why didn’t I shave my legs? It feels like razor blades rubbing my calves!” and “what am I doing here? when did I even think this was a good idea?”

Around mile 5 or 6, a woman ran up next to me and said hello. She and her daughter were running the race together and hoping to finish in about 4:30. My first thought was, “I’ll be so bummed if I finish in 4:30!” but I needed some company so I pulled out my earbud and ran with them. They explained that they are “believers” so they’d each assigned themselves biblical verses to read at each mile. Mom had evens and daughter had odds. As a formerly Catholic atheist, I might have said something self righteous about my own beliefs but instead just listened to them. I enjoyed their verses and the context they brought to each. They commented on why they chose the particular verses and the miles flew by.

I stayed with them until about mile 13. Regrettably, I had to stop to stretch my knee and never got to see them again. Their stories and relationship were so lovely to experience. I was so happy to have run those miles with them!

IMG_9457Things kind of went downhill after that. By mile 18, I was feeling really down. I couldn’t see them anymore and the 4:30 pacer had long since passed me. I called Tina and Jill. Neither answered. A little while later, Tina called back…from vacation in Legoland. She said, “Wait! Aren’t you running your marathon right now?!?” I replied, “I…I…I…just needed you…” and I started crying. She gave me the sweetest pep talk which ended with something like, “MILE 18?!?! That’s amazing! You’ve SO got this – you are a BAD ASS MOTHER FUCKER!”


My sister in law texted from North Carolina to check on us after the earthquake. It was easier to snap a pic than type a lot so I sent this back along with “all good.”

If only that were truly true.

At mile 20, we were back onto the Prince Greenway, a lovely bike path we’d run for the first several miles. I was simultaneously feeling, “I’ve got this…only 6 more miles” and “I have a whole freaking 10K left to run…that takes like an HOUR!”

Then around mile 22, my right knee just made clear to me that I needed to stop. I felt like if I took another step something on the outside of the knee cap would “snap.” So I stopped and stretched. Stopping sucked.

Between that point and the finish line, I probably stopped 7-8 more times, including one last stop right after the mile 26 marker. 


Finally, by the grace of all that is holy, I got to the finish line. With a mouth full of mint-chocolate Power Bar, Jon snapped this pic of me. The thumbs down well described how I felt. I hugged him with my whole body and shook with tears. I cried so hard and I couldn’t even tell you why. It was a similar feeling to how I felt after the births of my children…tears of exhaustion and relief.

After eating that bar, drinking some water and having my knee wrapped up with an ice pack, things got better quickly. The thumbs down was also an acknowledgement of my marathon time.

After eating some pancakes with salty butter and a chocolate milk, Jon took this picture. I was full of pride and felt so much better. :)
After eating some pancakes with salty butter and a chocolate milk, Jon took this picture. I was full of pride and felt so much better. 🙂

As I mentioned, my BQ time was 3:45. I finished in 4:45.



I missed my BQ time by an entire hour.

I feel a lot of mixed feelings about that. Like my education, “they can never take it away” – my marathon finisher status.


After training for 8 months, I wasn’t expecting to BQ but I also wasn’t able to outrun the mid-night earthquake or knee troubles that haunted my race. It wasn’t my day to have the 4:00-4:15 race I was hoping for. At this point, I cannot say whether I’ll ever do another full marathon. On the third day after the race, I don’t know about future racing. I haven’t worked out since the marathon and I’m not sure what to do next. My life has been a crazy jumble of house surfing, remodeling, escrow closings, contractors and RUNNING for almost as long as I can remember. Now the house is done, the kids are back in school and the marathon is over.

In 2 weeks, Tina and I will kick off our first annual FAB Camp women’s wellness retreat. Then my mom is taking me to Hawaii to early celebrate my 40th birthday. 

I know I’ll be ok…I know I can take on any challenge I choose to face. The marathon crystallized that fact for me. The only question now is…what will that be?



For now, I guess I’ll focus on those two.

Oh, and Monday night, I focused a little bit on a glass of this…





4 thoughts on “Santa Rosa Marathon Recap”

  1. Amazing job finishing your first marathon! It’s an incredible accomplishment and you should be extremely proud of all your hard work. I’m sorry you’re not more satisfied with your finish time. Lately I’ve come across several quotes/articles about what a long process it can be to reach your maximum running potential — it might take several years to develop optimal stamina and strength. It may sound daunting, but if we can try to enjoy the journey and have patience the rewards are worth it!

    Either way, whether your first marathon attempt or 10th the perfect race is always elusive. But if you are determined to BQ someday you WILL get there and finishing your first 26.2 has you well on your way! Congrats again!


    1. Thank you so much for that very kind comment, Kathryn! The more daylight I see between the race and I, the better perspective I’m getting on it. What’s amazing is that even though I was SO tired of running toward the end, I think I enjoyed the training more than the marathon! I guess that’s a good thing but there sure was a lot of it.

      In the end, I’m very proud that I pushed through and finished the marathon. The elusive perfect race of which you speak sounds pretty daunting and I’m still not certain I’ll take on another full marathon. That said, I still love running and I can’t get enough of gazing at that medal.

      I don’t think we live far from one another…get together and run sometime? xoox, T


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